Nearly all Ohio CPAs favor spending cuts to reduce the U.S. deficit, though they split fairly evenly between those who favor target cuts in spending (48 percent) and those who want a combination of spending cuts and tax increases (47 percent), according to the Ohio Society of CPAs’ 2012 Ohio Business Poll.
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Partners in public accounting firms, and c-suite officers in Ohio businesses and not-for-profit entities who are members of the society participated in the survey, which was conducted in late October and early November.
Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of the 700 respondents said that uncertainties about federal tax reform are influencing business decisions. Creating jobs and lowering unemployment (78 percent) and reducing the federal deficit (54 percent) were viewed as issues that should top the list for priority attention in Washington in 2013.
Respondents generally favored tax simplification, closing loopholes and reducing special treatments over raising tax rates, with 79 percent favoring lower corporate tax rates in return for elimination of some tax credits. More than two thirds (68 percent) of respondents opposed increasing tax rates for “high-wealth” individuals, and were roughly evenly divided on where to draw the high-income line: 40 percent selected income above $500,000 and 36 percent said $1 million and up. Only 16 percent said the threshold should be $250,000.
“CPAs in Ohio and nationwide are witness every day to the toll that the current gridlock in Washington is taking on companies and the American public,” said OSCPA chair Brendan Fitzgerald, CPA. “The Ohio Society of CPAs urges our federal legislators to quickly end the stalemate and address the deficit and tax reform with major initiatives that will restore confidence in our economy and help businesses grow and create jobs.”
Inside Ohio businesses
In 2012, 48 percent of responding CPAs saw modest revenue growth in their organizations, compared with 43 percent from 2010-2011. For 27 percent, revenues were flat, compared with 24 percent in 2010 -2011. CPAs are less optimistic about 2013: Only 5 percent are expecting significant revenue gains.
The uncertain tax climate has directly impacted decision-making and spending in Ohio organizations. Most aren’t planning investments in 2013 for product development (79 percent), capital or equipment purchases (67 percent) or process improvements (51 percent). However, 63 percent do expect to invest in new technology in 2013.
Employment was flat for 57 percent of CPAs versus 50 percent in 2010-2011, while 26 percent saw moderate gains compared to 18 percent in 2010-2011. Seventy-one percent do not plan to hire more employees in 2013.
Many CPAs said their companies are still evaluating decisions spurred by health care reform. One-fifth (19 percent) said they are either reducing benefits or eliminating coverage for employees in 2013; 32 percent will maintain current benefits and 37 percent are still evaluating options.
The Ohio Society of CPAs represents more than 22,000 CPAs in business, education, government and public accounting.